Keown’s Odegaard views suggest U-turn as he laments previous Arsenal issue

Martin Keown questioned Arsenal’s decision to sign Martin Odegaard in the summer but has defended the Gunners star after he made comments about the club’s dressing room

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Martin Keown has defended Martin Odegaard’s “nice” dressing room comments having previously questioned the club’s decision to sign the playmaker.

Odegaard spent the latter part of last season on loan at the Emirates having struggled for game time at Real Madrid.

The Gunners opted to sign the Norwegian permanently in the summer and he has quickly become a regular.

However Keown felt that Odegaard’s signing wasn’t necessary given the continued emergence of Emile Smith Rowe and also felt such funds would’ve been better spent elsewhere.

“I think Smith Rowe is a better player in that position. But if the manager feels this Odegaard can bring something extra to the group then time will tell again,” he said previously.

Martin Odegaard has praised Arsenal’s “nice dressing room”

“I don’t think though that he’s a world class player but I do think he’s a promising player.

“I would’ve thought that’s where the money should have been spent, big money in that central midfield position.”

Odegaard scored an impressive winner at Burnley earlier this season and has played as a starter ever since arriving.

The 22-year-old was tipped for big things as a teenager and has spoken fondly of the atmosphere at Arsenal.

He told Norwegian outlet TV2 : “I came from a different dressing room culture and it is not easy to fit into a changing room [like the one at Madrid]. It was difficult but it is something that has made me stronger and I am happy to have experienced it

“I would say there is a big difference. I am very happy at Arsenal. There is a very nice dressing room.”

The Gunners have long copped criticism for their mentality but Keown has leapt to Odegaard’s defence.

Despite previously questioning the signing he told the BBC that he has enjoyed “a good start.”

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Martin Keown had previously expressed concern over the Norwegian’s signing


BBC Sport)

Having struggled in the Los Blancos environment the playmaker now feels comfortable in north London and the former Arsenal defender feels that can only be a benefit with previous senior players not living up to expectation.

He added: “Martin Odegaard is just starting out in his career. He hardly played for Real Madrid. I do feel the environment needed to improve at Arsenal when you think about what was happening with [Mesut] Ozil, a lot of power there and not the greatest of role models.

“Odegaard is in a dressing room now where he feels he’s got the right environment to work in and I think that’s good as well.”

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